Although we can be trapped by negativity in our lives, we must allow joy into our lives and allow the elements of joy we already have to be recognized. Two interesting quotes from Thich Nhat Hanh, are “The seed of suffering in you may be strong, but don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy.” The other quote is, “Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” Although those quotes are from a Buddhist monk, Isaiah expressed similar ideas in Isaiah 40:29-31, where hope in the Lord renews strength.
In our busy, busy world where we are always on the run, it is important that we take some time to reflect on what we have, where we are, where we came from and how we got here. There is always something to be thankful for. The “attitude of gratitude” practiced every day will allow joy, not only into your own life, but into the life of those around you.
Things that invite joy into our lives can be simple: a smile, a kind word, a small courtesy. Think about the positive things in your life. Consider the positive attributes about yourself. Don’t compare yourself to others – each of us is unique with our own talents and challenges. Think about those less fortunate than yourself and how you might be able to lift them up. This will allow you to appreciate your own blessings and share those blessings with others.
Joy can be an elusive condition. Like contentment, joy must be practiced and learned. This is available to you and to me. Joy and contentment are available to everyone. Take care and smile. Smiles are infectious; infect someone today.